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Exploring New Strategies

God-Pharaoh's Gift is a relatively known quantity in this Standard format. It hasn’t taken down any big events recently, but the deck is powerful and has a pretty solid shell. Cards like Champion of Wits and Strategic Planning typically make the core of the deck, while your splash color gives access to cards like Angel of Invention and The Scarab God. This week, _AquaSock has a unique take on the archetype that eschews all the typical engine pieces in favor of a more solid midrange gameplan:

Gate to the Afterlife
This is a midrange deck with a combotastic top end. You have all the efficient explore creatures as the primary engine of the deck. They gum up the ground and give you the opportunity to trade up with opposing creatures or apply substantial pressure to your opponent. The explore triggers give you the opportunity to stock your graveyard and help you continue to hit land drops while you try to work your way up to 7 mana.

On top of explore creatures, you have a ton of powerful midrange threats to help control the board. Noxious Gearhulk is your primary way of keeping things from getting out of hand, as it also keeps your life total high and applies pressure on your opponent. Gonti, Lord of Luxury is a means of grinding out more controlling decks.

Between all of your explore triggers and Champion of Wits, it should be pretty easy to find a copy of Gate to the Afterlife and stock your graveyard with enough creatures to activate it. From there, your God-Pharaoh's Gift can take over the game, as all of your explore creatures can keep your graveyard stocked and your Wildgrowth Walkers help to ensure that your opponent can’t race you. Your threats coming out of the graveyard are more interactive and have a higher upside than most of the threats in the Blue-based variations; the tradeoff is that you lose some of the explosiveness of Strategic Planning and Refurbish.

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